Tag Archives: kamakura

New Yamanote trains

1 Dec

The 山手線 (Yamanote Line) is a train line in Tokyo.
Unlike other some of the other numerous train lines in Tokyo, this one never leaves metropolitan Tokyo. It has some trains going clockwise and some going counter-clockwise in a loop around the major stations in Tokyo. A full loop around every station on the Yamanote Line takes almost exactly one hour…but the longest you’d have to ride it is a half-hour (since it goes in both directions).

The Yamanote Line is easily identifiable because the trains are lime-green in color.

JR (Japan Railways), the company that runs many train lines all around Japan…including the Yamanote Line, began using new, updated trains on the Yamanote Line yesterday.

This is the first time this line has gotten new trains since 2002. I remember when the 2002 trains came out…they seemed so “modern”. But the new 2015 line make those trains look outdated!

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi)

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi).

These new trains has considerably less advertised posters on the train walls. Instead, it has many more digital monitors.

As I mentioned above, the Yamanote Line runs in metropolitan Tokyo only…normally!
Yesterday, as it was the first day for these new trains…one Yamanote Line train made a special trip to Kamakura, about an hour south of Tokyo!

Coincidentally, we drove to Kamakura yesterday (Click here to see my photos).

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Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

Kanagawa

25 Aug

Yesterday we went to Kanagawa. The prefecture to the south of Tokyo.

First we went to Kamakura. Kamakura has many temples and shrines…but is probably most famous for the 大仏 (Great Buddha) statue that is there. We didn’t visit the Great Buddha yesterday, but we’ve been to it many times before (Click here to see photo I took of the Great Buddha about six years ago.)

First we visited the 小町通り (Komachi Street).

Ghibli store

The “Iwata Coffee Shop”. It’s claim-to-fame is that John Lennon ate there when he visited Kamakura.

A toy store.

We ate breakfast at the well-known “Komeda Coffee” restaurant.

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We went to the famous 報国寺 (Hōkoku-ji Temple), also called 竹寺 (“Bamboo Temple”) because of it’s bamboo forest!

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After we left the “Bamboo Temple”, I saw this old Coke machine that sold the cola in glass bottles:

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Some turtles in a pond came out of the water looking for food hand-outs from the people. Including this スッポン (Chinese Soft-shelled Turtle):

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Kamakura has many local-brewed beers, including this 「大仏ビール」 (“Great Buddha Beer”) that I bought:

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After Kamakura, we went to Yokohama:

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「横浜中華街」 (Yokohama Chinatown)

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The Yokohama Chinatown 交番 (Police Box).

In Yokohama Chinatwon, we ate 担々麺 (spicy “Tan-tan-men” Ramen) for lunch.

A shopping mall had a dinosaur exhibit.

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Yokohama skyline.

For dinner, we ate at an 居酒屋 (Japanese “izakaya” pub).

Chocolate for “adults”

18 Nov

I was going to write a post about U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Japan for the APEC Summit that was held in Yokohama, Japan last week.
This summit was for world leaders to discuss free-trade in the Asia / Pacific region.

President Obama made a speech when he visited Japan shortly after his election in which he mentioned that he had visited 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan) near Tokyo on a trip with his mother when he was six years old.
On that trip, he remembered, he visited the 大仏 (Great Buddah) and enjoyed “Green Tea Ice Cream”.

In that speech, President Obama said that he hoped to visit Kamakura again one day soon and eat Green Tea Ice Cream again.

His wish came true on his last day in Japan of this recent trip (well, he actually ate a “Green Tea Popsicle” rather than ice cream this time).

U.S. President Obama eating a Green Tea Popsicle in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.

U.S. President Obama in front of the 大仏 (Great Buddah) statue in Kamakura, Japan on 2010 Nov 14.

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I also wanted to write about the 2010 Asian Games which are currently being played in Guangzhou, China.
Forty-five countries are participating in these games which began on 2010 November 12 and will end with the closing ceremony on November 27th.
Japan is doing pretty good in these games…but China, the host country, has the highest number of gold medals so far.

Japan is upset though by the results of the women’s Judo matches. Judo is a Japanese martial art and Japanese athletes consistently excel in international Judo competitions…but in the women’s Judo match Tomoko Fukumi of Japan lost in her match against Wu Shegen of China.
Although it appeared to most people watching that Japan was winning, the judges awarded the victory to China.

Hopefully this doesn’t add more tension to the relationship between Japan and China.
In both Japan and China recently there have been protests against the other country due to Japan’s arrest (and eventual release) of a Chinese fisherman who entered disputed waters that are claimed as territory by both China and Japan.
And in the same waters, on two separate occasions a Chinese boat intentionally rammed a Japanese Coast Guard vessel that was patrolling the area.

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But I titled this blog post 「Chocolate for “adults”」 because I saw the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 (“(Level of) Sweetness for Adults”).

I don’t eat junk-food often but two types of chocolate that I like are whiskey chocolate and dark / bitter chocolate.
This Kit-Kat is a bitter / semi-sweet chocolate so I decided to try it. It was pretty good.

The Japanese actress / singer 「黒木めいさ」 (Meisa Kuroki) is the promotion model for both the “regular” Kit-Kat (dressed in red) and the Kit-Kat 「オトナの甘さ」 “Sweetness for Adults” (dressed in black).

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Have you heard any of these news stories before?

人力車

22 Mar

I was watching a TV program called 「きょうは何の日」 (lit. “What day is today?“).

This show tells something that happened in history on the same date in history. Something like “On this date in history…” might be a better translation of the show’s title.

It said that 140 years ago today, on 1870 March 22, the 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“) was invented in Japan.

(Click here to see a post I wrote about a trip we took to Yokohama about two years ago…and I took a photo of a 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“) near Yokohama Chinatown (there’s also photos of cool graffiti in that post)).

There seems to be a bit of controversy over who exactly invented the 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“).
Some say a Japanese businessman in Tokyo named Yosuke Izumi invented it, but others say it was invented by an American missionary in Yokohama named Jonathan Goble.

There seems to be evidence supporting both stories and neither can be proven conclusively.

Either way, the 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“) is 140 years old today and, although it was used as a major form of transportation in Japan back then, it is mainly only ridden by tourist (both Japanese and overseas visitors) in parts of Japan with a lot of traditional history…such as Asakusa, Kamakura, Yokohama, Kyoto, etc.
The 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“) pullers double as tour guides explaining the history of the sites to his customers.

Also, geisha can sometimes be seen riding in them as part of their image.

The 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“) was imported into other parts of Asia.
So the word “rickshaw” is famous around the world…but in Japanese, 「人力車」 is actually pronounced “jin-riki-sha“…literally “human-powered vehicle”.

Have you ever ridden in a 「人力車」 (“rickshaw“)?

To all the beers I’ve drunk before

4 Aug

I don’t claim to be a beer ソムリエ (sommelier), but I know what I like.

I’m gonna try and make a list here of as many of the different beers I’ve tried that I can remember. And I’m gonna try to rate them (with a rating scale of 1-3 stars (★★★). One star () being the lowest, and three (★★★) is the highest).

I also wrote the beer’s country of origin.

The star ratings are simply my personal opinion. Kirin Beer is my favorite. And I think any cold lager is good.

Just so you know where I’m coming from.

  • Kirin Lager () – Japan
  • Kirin Classic Lager () – Japan

  • Kirin Ichiban () – Japan
  • Kirin Strong Seven () – Japan

  • Kirin Tanrei () – Japan
  • Kirin Tanei Double () – Japan
  • Kirin Tanrei Green Label () – Japan
  • Kirin Nodogoshi () – Japan
  • Kirin Enjuku () – Japan
  • Kirin Koku-no-jikan () – Japan
  • Kirin Aki-aji () – Japan
  • Budweiser () – America
  • Bud Ice () – America
  • Bud Dry () – America
  • Heineken () – Netherlands
  • Guinness () – Ireland
  • Hitachino Nest Beer () – Japan
  • Asahi Super Dry () – Japan
  • Asahi Hon-nama Draft (red can) () – Japan
  • Asahi Hon-nama Aqua Blue (blue can) ( ) – Japan
  • Asahi Hon-nama Gold (gold can) () – Japan
  • Asahi Cool Draft () – Japan
  • Orion Draft () – Japan
  • Orion Southern Star () – Japan
  • Suntory The Premium Malts () – Japan
  • Suntory Malts () – Japan
  • Suntory MD Golden Dry () – Japan
  • Suntory The Straight () – Japan
  • Suntory Jyokki-nama () – Japan
  • Suntory Gold Brew () -Japan
  • Carlsberg () – Denmark
  • Beck’s () – Germany
  • Yebisu Premium () – Japan
  • Yebisu Premium Full Malt () – Japan
  • Sapporo Draft One () – Japan
  • Sapporo Nama Kuro Label () – Japan
  • Satan () – Belgium
  • Singha () – Thailand
  • San Miguel () – Philipines
  • Corona () – Mexico
  • Samuel Adams () – America
  • Miller Genuine Draft () – America
  • Kamakura Moon () – Japan
  • Coedo Ruri () – Japan

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    "Coedo Beer" from Kawagoe (Koedo), Saitama, Japan

I may have tried others that I’ve forgotten. This is all that I can remember off the top of my head.

As you can probably tell by my ratings, I love beer…and I’m not real picky. But I’ve tried Guinness Beer and I didn’t think much of it. やっぱり、I like lager beer.

What do you think of my list? Have you tried any of these beers? Are your impressions different from mine?  What’s your favorite beer? How often do you have a beer? I have a couple with dinner everyday.

Kamakura trip

31 Jan

Yesterday, my second daughter’s class took a field trip to 鎌倉 (Kamakura).

鎌倉 (Kamakura) is a city about 90-minutes south of Tokyo. It was the capital of Japan at one time, and it’s an old 下町 (traditional-style town).

鎌倉 (Kamakura) is most famous for the 大仏 (“Great Buddah” statue) that is there.

大仏 (Great Buddah)

大仏 (Great Buddah)

Unfortunately, it rained all day yesterday, so my daughter’s field-trip wasn’t as good as it could have been.
We have been to 鎌倉 (Kamakura) as a family many times…Click here to see a post I wrote about a trip we took there last April (with photos of 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery).

My daughter took the photo above of 大仏 (“Great Buddah“), and these photos:

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Today was my youngest daughter’s 学校公開 (Open School / “Parents Day”). Which is the day that parents can come watch their kids classes.

I watched my daughter’s Cooking Class. The class was right before lunch…they prepared a traditional Japanese meal and ate it for lunch.
They did a good job! 美味しそう! (It looked delicious!)

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In about 1992, a store that I liked opened in Tokyo.
It was called the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum“.
The store had sections devoted to The Beatles, The Stray Cats, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Guns ‘N Roses…and KISS (which is why I liked it!).

The store had a large statue of Elvis Presley out front. (Supposedly many Elvis fans contributed to the cost of erecting the statue…including American rock star Jon Bon-Jovi and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi!)

I am using the past-tense when I refer to the store in this post because I just found out that after being open all these years…the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum” closed down about two-weeks ago.

This is right after another landmark store in Tokyo closed recently (Click here).

The last time I went to the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum” was on November 2, 2008. I mentioned it in a post (with a photo)…click here to see it.